Barack Obama | Gay Pride | Gay Rights | Michelle Obama | News

Watch: Full Video of Obama White House LGBT Pride Celebration


Here is full video of Obama's remarks to those assembled in the White House East Room yesterday for a reception marking Pride month. This is a follow-up to yesterday's post, where you can see the transcript and guest list to the event.

Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...

Here is a round-up of reaction and reports on the event:

Wall Street Journal: "The president gave no new details about how he would advance these issues, but he made passionate remarks saluting the pioneers of the gay-rights movement and expressed solidarity with those working for equal rights."

NYT: "Joined by his wife, Michelle, the president directly addressed criticism from gay and lesbian leaders that he had not been a forceful advocate for them."

AP: "But the president says his administration already has made progress on several fronts and that activists will — in his words — 'have pretty good feelings' about the Obama administration when he leaves office."

CNN: "But critics say it's too little, too late."

Washington Post: "But the excitement among the several hundred guests invited by the first couple to the East Wing Monday was tempered by frustration among many who believe that the president has moved too slowly to make good on his campaign promises."

Guest Tom Gregory: "The Obama Administration assembled a group of two hundred or more of America's well-heeled leaders for equality, but like little doggies most were wide-eyed at his feet. Today's address left me wanting. The pain experienced by homosexuals is deadly tragic. Annually, thousands of American children kill themselves due to the bigotry pervasive across America. In today's speech President Obama said gay America would be happy by the time his administration is over. If he doesn't stop offering excuses and empty promises, they will be."

Guest Joan Garry:  "No president had ever invited a big bunch of us over for cocktails during Pride Month before. The event was remarkable. Historic. I was proud to be there. Proud to have my partner at my side...And of course I wanted more."

HRC: "President Obama's remarks today were welcomed and appreciated and, as he stated, it is the actions to advance equality — not simply the words — that will be the true marker by which this White House will be judged.  On the eve of this weekend’s 40th anniversary of Stonewall, the president has yet again reiterated his support for most of the critical federal issues facing millions of LGBT Americans.  We must continue the hard work of turning that support into the passage of actual laws.  We look forward to working with President Obama and his administration to advance equality, and we pledge to be good-faith partners throughout the many battles that lie ahead of us."

Log Cabin Republican spokesperson, Charles T. Moran "It is pretty entertaining to watch the President throw himself a 'Pride Party' after taking a pass on acting upon several issues that would have fulfilled his promises to our Community. I'm not quite sure what he's actually proud of. Hollow words and false promises do not define a legacy or an Administration - only actions and follow-through. This Administration has had several opportunities to show its commitment to the LGBT community and make life better for millions of Americans. Hosting this 'sideshow' reception only rubs salt in the wounds of so many that actually believed his message of 'hope & change.'"

GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios: It was an honor to take part in this important event for the gay and transgender community with fellow advocates and my 17-year old son...Our community will continue to advocate and will be watching closely to ensure Obama makes good on the promises he discussed today and during the campaign. At the heart of the issues discussed today are everyday Americans who want the same chance as everyone else to earn a living, be safe in their communities, serve their country, and take care of the ones they love."

Americablog: "The President gave his speech to the big gay A-listers at the White House (well, minus those who were blacklisted). Boy, that crowd was really into it. They clapped wildly when he said the words, 'gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender.' Just because he said the words. Even though Bill Clinton said those words - what? - 17 years ago? Also, your president wants you to know that unjust laws must be overturned. Some day. The crowd loved that one too. One might forget that the Obama administration defended the Defense of Marriage Act law recently. They not only defended it, they defended it in a way that demeaned and mocked same-sex marriages by invoking incest and pedophilia. But never mind."

Americablog also notes that the guest make-up was 64% men, 36% women.

Guest Rick Rosendall: "I spied Frank Kameny (whose guest I was at the event) sitting on an upholstered bench at the foot of the main staircase, and sat down next to him. I told him of a conversation I had just had: 'So I said, 'Will you support the Uniting American Families Act — Jerry Nadler's bill?' He said, 'I haven't read it yet.' I said, 'Please take a look at it,' to which he said, 'I will.'' Frank asked, 'Who said this to you?' I replied, 'The President of the United States.' Now I realize that getting the President to tell you that he'll look at a bill is not the most earth-shaking development, but if John Aravosis thinks I am going to pass up a chance to get a few moments of input to the most powerful man in the world, he can kiss my you-know-what."

Watch the full video of Obama's remarks, AFTER THE JUMP...

Feed This post's comment feed


  1. I grew up in the deep south and the old people used to tell me that if you wanted to keep the "colored people" happy all you needed to do was give them watermelons and beer.

    Apparently, all you need to do to keep gay leaders happy is throw them a "fab" cocktail party.

    Obama told his guests he was not going to do the heavy lifting for them. Nor should he. Let's see if these clown will put down their drinks and get to work.

    Posted by: jmdrwac | Jun 30, 2009 12:06:22 PM

  2. On page A4 of this morning's Washington Post, the continuation of the front page article on Obama's Stonewall reception is positioned right above the continuation of an article on the political difficulties of holding together the diverse Democratic coalition. That article includes this statement:

    "Early on, administration officials and Democratic leaders agreed they would steer clear of controversial social issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage. And to the discontent of many liberal Democrats, Congress intends to remain generally silent on those fronts.

    "They know the consequences of '94. It looms," White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said of the legislative debacles in President Bill Clinton's early tenure that produced the 1994 Republican landslide. "That division led to failure. . . "

    There's the real problem. Rahm Emmanuel and other Democratic leaders don't want to move any of our issues forward on the Congressional agenda, because they are still burned by what happened to Clinton 15 years ago. That's why we can't just take Obama's speeches at their face value. We have to keep fighting and protesting and withholding money and whatever else it takes to hold the Democrats to their many promises.

    Posted by: NickC | Jun 30, 2009 12:11:13 PM

  3. The very fact of the Obama Administration holding these dog-and-pony shows is evidence of their concern that they are losing our support and, particularly, our money. We actually have some leverage here. Our organizational leaders should not let up but keep applying pressure! The response should be "those are lovely words, Mr. President but we need action NOW! When are you going to actually DO something for equal rights? We will not give you one dime until we see results."

    Posted by: Jeffrey | Jun 30, 2009 12:51:06 PM

  4. all these gay A-listers kissing ass and getting nothing in return. They should have boycotted the event and not give obama the appearance that he is doing something for us.

    if african americans were being discharged from the army for being african american, I am sure the president would have found time to deal with it.


    Posted by: sharon | Jun 30, 2009 12:52:48 PM


    If any of you didn't see it already and have a severe bullshit allergy or stomach too weak to endure the repeated sounds of screaming and hollering and speaking in tongues Barry Christ Hallowed Be Thy Name...we urge you to at least turn the sound off.

    Dems learned the wrong lesson from wasn't that Clinton tried to do too much too was that he surrendered too soon to the fag bashing bullies. Obama Ditto.

    Translation of what he said yesterday about DADT: he reaffirmed his pledge to continue to cave to a microscopic by comparison to 1993 group of surviving dinosaurs, responding to Lt. Col. Fehrenbach's face-to-face, direct plea for help immediately afterwards with one of Obama Inc's patented auto switch the subject answers. "We're going to get this done [repeal DADT]."

    Uh, Mr. Commander-in-Chief, he was, entirely reasonably, asking you to stop HIS discharge NOW! [And, yes, it's true the Air Force dinosaurs ordered Fehrenbach not to wear his uniform yesterday even though he'd worn it to previous administration events before he was outed.]

    And too many gays learned nothing at all from how little came out of Clinton's having met with them in the White House in 1993 and speaking at HRC's banquet in 1997.

    How can I put this politely?

    What the fuck part of words alone don't mean a goddamn thing do those wetting themselves in and outside of the East Room yesterday not understand?

    And Lord Obama reran the weakest part of his primary promises yesterday in that transparently pasted together speech .... part recyled campaign promises/part please leave Britney er me alone ... read from a teleprompter.

    He conveniently ignored [just as he did that his DOJ has ALREADY made things worse with their homophobic briefs defending DADT and DOMA] that, in 2007, he said that what was missing in the goal of overturning DADT was LEADERship. And Senate Armed Services Committee Chair Carl Levin said the same thing just last week. It ain't gonna happen without the President MAKING it happen.

    "Work[ing] with Congress" is NOT leadership; it's passing the ball when Barry the Basketball Lover is the only one at the free throw line. There's so much responsibility passing going on that one needs slo mo to follow it.

    Barry passes to Carl and Ike Skelton [House Armed Services Comm Chair] who pass back to him who passes it to the Pentagon who passes it back to Barry who passes it to Harry Reid who passes it to Nancy Pelosi who passes it to....

    Forget the reviews by WAPO and NYT and whomever after the fact. The best review was heard real time during the Smile Fuckapalooza:


    Posted by: Michael @ | Jun 30, 2009 1:01:48 PM

  6. John and all the other petulant bloggers are just total idiots. All you people sit on your asses and complain and make racist comments while some of the people at that party are actually doing grass-roots organizing and making life better for LGBT people. Stop complaining about Obama -- who is our ally and has already done more for gay rights than any president before him -- and get involved. Stop scratching your narcissistic asses and get outside and do something.

    Posted by: brooklynite | Jun 30, 2009 1:07:19 PM

  7. March on Washington!

    Posted by: Jeremy | Jun 30, 2009 1:10:27 PM

  8. It's all just words. I'm beyond words anymore.

    What needs to be paid attention to action, not meaningless photo ops where the HRC gets to crow about preserving its beloved "access".

    None of these words make up for that legal brief supporting DOMA. The President could have stop lossed the soldiers getting discharged or a supplemental brief could be filed correcting the first.

    The only reason we are even getting the crumbs we are getting is because some people started pulling out of the DNC fundraiser.

    That he found a room full of LGBTs that could be pacified with a few words and a meaningless photo op tells me that the whole equality movement needs to be rescued from organizations like the HRC.

    Can we please stop acting like battered wives returning for more just because he promises (again) that he'll change and how much he really loves us? Imagine if we had shown the solidarity to completely boycott the DNC fundraiser. We may have gotten even more than crumbs.

    There are obviously still so many gays starved for validation that when a politician tells you how much they care they throw all sense of reason out the window.

    Posted by: Dan | Jun 30, 2009 1:13:24 PM

  9. "There's the real problem. Rahm Emmanuel and other Democratic leaders don't want to move any of our issues forward on the Congressional agenda..."


    They don't want to touch marriage, and although I disagree with them, I understand why: it's political poison.

    But Hate Crimes has already passed the House, and ENDA is on the table. Before the year is out, those two are likely to be the law of the land. The DOD issued a statement to NPR about DADT, and the tone of the statement was that they know it's going to be repealed. These three issues are saleable.

    On marriage, we're going to have to fight this out state-by-state until the Supreme Court gets involved - which I hope won't be until after President Obama has appointed another justice. While DOMA may be repealed at some point, that alone won't legalize same-sex marriage nationwide. It merely opens up the doors to legislation giving gay partners some benefits down the line.

    Let's also not forget, health care reform - the major item on Obama's agenda - will, as a matter of practicality impact more GLBTs than ENDA. How many of you have actually been fired from your job for being gay? In this day and age, not many. How many of you don't have health insurance? I'd wager a good deal more.

    Let's keep the pressure on. But let's not burn our bridges.

    Posted by: Hank Drake | Jun 30, 2009 1:14:20 PM

  10. I am wondering why the log cabin republicans are using this as a chance to attack. They are literally sleeping with the enemy <.< I understand that they stand for conservative governing ways (i.e. small government), but hell the republicans would openly execute them.

    Also, as the poster above me said marriage is strictly legislative poison. It needs to be handled by the courts because we can not allow the notion that our marriage rights are something that need to be granted. Clinton era conservatives basically fucked themselves over with DOMA. It is one of the most unconstitutional, congressional oversights and it will( hopefully, if any of the justices actually do their jobs and not try to impress morality on us (read: Thomas, Scaliaphobe, Roberts, the other less know conservative)) be overturned.

    Posted by: Koklo | Jun 30, 2009 1:28:23 PM

  11. Talk is CHEAP!!! The democratic leadership is spineless and weak!!! They are NOT going to do ANYTHING to HELP US!!! Hey, REPUBLICANS, it's sure awfully chilly out there in the wilderness isn't it??? You want your POWER back???? Make the GLBT community an OFFER!!! My VOTE is for SALE!!! I'm tired of the crumbs...

    Posted by: Merle | Jun 30, 2009 2:22:11 PM

  12. @ brooklynite

    "Obama... has already done more for gay rights than any president before him"???

    Didn't your mommy ever tell you that just because you say something doesn't make it true?

    The usual version of this Big Lie just reads, "for gays" rather than "for gay RIGHTS," but let's play it your way.

    Could you be thinking of Obama's meeting with gays in the White House yesterday/

    SORRY. Pres. Satan did that 16 years ago.

    Could you be thinking of Obama's hiring out gays in his administration?

    SORRY. Pres. Satan did that 16 years ago, too. He also the first out gay US Ambassador and Consul and federal judge.

    Could you be thinking of that Obama memo giving a couple of benefits to the partners of gay federal employees?

    SORRY. Pres. Satan trumped that big time when, ten years ago, he overturned a half-century old ban that would have prevented those gay federal employees from being hired in the first place. He also banned gay discrimination in security clearances and added hate crimes protection to the Universal Code of Military Justice.

    True, he signed DADT and DOMA but Obama has defended both in court using the same homophobic language that Congress used to create them in the first place so what's the diff.

    Maybe you were thinking of MRS. President Obama and her attending the swearing in of First 'Mo John Berry.

    SORRY. Mrs. Pres. Satan trumped that marching in New York's gay pride parade in 2000. I was kinda busy this weekend, did Michelle.....

    WAIT. I just remembered...and hope you'll forgive me for forgetting something Obama did for gays that no president has ever done before....

    He invited them to the White House Easter Egg Hunt.

    Posted by: Michael @ | Jun 30, 2009 2:27:05 PM

  13. I suspect a lot of this is laziness, too, on the part of the A-list gays. They thought that once Bush-is-gone and Obama-is-in, it's this new day where everything is good now. They can't admit, or accept, that....all we have is another four years of trouble. So they pretend all is fine.

    Posted by: JT | Jun 30, 2009 3:09:35 PM

  14. So who should be in office Michael?
    Who should have been the true savior of all gay people?

    Posted by: Mitch | Jun 30, 2009 3:10:32 PM

  15. And now "Roll over!", "Play Dead", "Wag your tail when I say Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender!"...Good gays, you are such good gays, oh yes you are...

    Posted by: Christian Young | Jun 30, 2009 3:21:14 PM

  16. So, the Log Cabin Republicans don't approve? Suddenly I do.

    Posted by: Paul R | Jun 30, 2009 3:36:12 PM

  17. @ Mitch.

    You're missing the point because you're stuck in the spin cycle of Obama's brainwashing machine. It's not about who would be better...or worse...but the checks THIS President wrote.

    How insufferable is it when his apologists act as if his critics just woke up a couple of months back, smacked their foreheads, and shrieked, "Girlfriend! There was absolutely no talk about gay rights during the campaign. Let's make up a list and start demanding Obama do something about them."

    While, of course, the truth is that he agressively campaigned for gay votes with a to do list of promises about what HE was going to do FOR us. All the time painting other candidates as at least inferior to him on gay issues if not outright homophobic.

    E.g., from February of last year: “Equality is a moral imperative. … And AS PRESIDENT, I WILL PLACE THE WEIGHT OF MY ADMINISTRATION BEHIND the enactment of the Matthew Shepard Act to outlaw hate crimes and a fully inclusive Employment Non Discrimination Act to outlaw workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. ...AS YOUR PRESIDENT, I WILL USE THE BULLY PULPIT to urge states to treat same-sex couples with full equality in their family and adoption laws. … I WILL NEVER COMPROMISE ON MY COMMITMENT TO EQUAL RIGHTS FOR ALL LGBT AMERICANS. … Americans are yearning for leadership that can empower us to reach for what we know is possible. I believe that we can achieve the goal of full equality for the millions of LGBT people in this country. To do that, we need leadership that can appeal to the best parts of the human spirit. JOIN WITH ME, and I WILL PROVIDE THAT LEADERSHIP.” – Barack Obama, February 28, 2008.

    And just like when he was criticized for McClukingate ["there has not been a stronger and more consistent advocate on LGBT issues than I have been"], just like when he was criticized for Warrengate ["I think that it is no secret that I am a fierce advocate for equality for gay and lesbian Americans. It is something that I have been consistent on, and I intend to continue to be consistent on during my presidency."], yesterday he again defended himself by simply denying the facts, ignoring the betrayals, and recycling old promises.

    He is caught in a trap of his own making and you're blaming US?

    Posted by: Michael @ | Jun 30, 2009 4:22:35 PM

  18. Michael, you are the one who seems trapped and in a spin cycle of your own words. All you do is talk, talk, talk and be angry. Sorry but that does nothing.

    Posted by: Ed | Jun 30, 2009 7:25:18 PM

  19. heres the deal - every time towleroad or JMG or any other gay blog posts a story about gay bashing, harassment, any example of our rights being stepped on, each reader should fwd the article to the White house until they take notice . every day, millions of us, flooding the whitehouse with forwwarded article that show how we are treated. you can imagine the outcome if they receive a million emails everyday from us.

    any thoughts?

    Posted by: downtownlaguy47 | Jun 30, 2009 11:37:03 PM

  20. Heterosupremacist in Chief Obama has blood on his hands - the blood of August Provost murdered at Camp Pendleton hours after Obama told those so-called LGBT leaders that he would continue to stop the courts from overturning DADT, and blamed the good old bad old boys in the pentagon who tell him what to do.

    Posted by: Jessica Naomi | Jul 8, 2009 2:21:29 AM

Post a comment


« «Kalamazoo, MI Votes to Protect its LGBT Citizens from Discrimination« «